Washington, D.C.— Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the NAACP, met with President Barack Obama Tuesday to support passage of the President’s American Jobs Act.
“I enjoyed speaking with President Obama about this crucial bill, which will help get the American people back to work,” stated Brock. “The unemployment rate among people of color is critically high. The NAACP will continue to prioritize job creation and anti-employment discrimination measures. We will do everything in our power to ensure the passage of this job-creation and community-stabilization legislation.”
The President’s plan – introduced in the U.S. Senate as S. 1549 and in the House of Representatives as H.R. 12 – will encourage employers to hire the long-term unemployed, and specifically prohibit employers from discrimination against unemployed workers, which has been a specific priority for the NAACP. The plan will also extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, provide incentives for businesses to hire, and support summer and year-round jobs for youth. The tax cuts portion of the plan will benefit over 100,000 African American-owned small businesses and will help those businesses access capital.
Roughly 1.4 million African Americans have been out of work for more than six months. In August 2011, the national unemployment rate was reported at over 9%, while the rate among African Americans was reported at 16.7%. African American males have an unemployment rate of 17.5%, while more than 40% of African American teens are unemployed.
The American Jobs Act also proposes a $15 billion investment to put construction workers to work on rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. In addition, the President’s plan would invest $25 billion in school infrastructure to modernize at least 35,000 public schools, with the funds targeted at the lowest income districts where jobs are most dire. The bill would also invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 public school teachers, while hiring tens of thousands more teachers and keeping first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, on the job.
“Too many people are suffering and we cannot afford to wait,” stated Brock. “The NAACP stands firmly behind the President in support of the American Jobs Act. The future is calling and we will answer the President’s call to put all Americans back to work.”